Updated: 4 p.m.
In what looks to be the move to make room for fullback Fui Vakapuna, the Bengals on Tuesday terminated the contract of long-time backup offensive lineman Scott Kooistra. Kooistra one of the Marvin originals from the 2003 team, played in two games this season and was inactive for the other five. He has played 82 games (one start) since being selected out of North Carolina State by Cincinnati in the seventh round of the '03 draft.
Kooistra's release leaves the Bengals with 52 players on the roster and would seem to indicate that first-round pick Andre Smith is close to playing. Last week head coach Marvin Lewis said he hoped Smith would be available for Sunday's 1 p.m. game against Baltimore at Paul Brown Stadium.
The agent for Vakapuna said Tuesday his client has agreed to re-sign with the club. Since the Bengals don't announce deals until they are signed, it appears Vakapuna plans to sign his contract when he arrives in town. Agent Dave Lee said Vakapuna is moving to the 53-man roster from the Arizona practice squad, where he has been since the Bengals released him just before the start of the regular season.
The Bengals also signed rookie tackle Gerald Cadogan of Penn State to the practice squad to fill the spot vacated by fullback Chris Pressley's departure to Tampa Bay last week. The 6-5, 310-pound Cadogan was a college free agent with Carolina and played in one preseason game for the Panthers before being waived Aug. 31. He played four seasons (2005-08) at Penn State and started every game his last two years, earning first-team All-Big Ten honors as a senior. Cadogan's signing brings the Bengals practice squad to its full complement of eight players.
The Bengals drafted the 6-0, 260-pound Vakapuna in the seventh round out of Brigham Young and installed him as the No. 1 fullback heading into training camp. But veteran Jeremi Johnson came out of the No. 3 spot to reclaim the job, the Bengals put the rookie free agent Pressley on the practice squad, and cut Vakapuna.
Yet Vakapuna impressed them with his athleticism and size and he looks to be providing insurance for Johnson after he sprained his knee against the Bears nine days ago. Johnson said he would be OK for Baltimore, but he didn't practice Monday.
The 6-6, 335-pound Kooistra, 29 proved to be a valued reserve at tackle and guard. His release leaves Jeremi Johnson, quarterback Carson Palmer, wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, and kicker Shayne Graham as the only players left from Lewis' first team.
The move also leaves the Bengals with nine offensive linemen that includes four tackles in Smith and Anthony Collins, and starters Andrew Whitworth and Dennis Roland. Starting left guard Evan Mathis has practiced at all five spots during his career.